Netflix introduced a new suite of parental controls that allow users to do far more to restrict the types of content available on their account profiles, including the new ability to completely remove movies and titles from the service.
The controls, which are now available on all Netflix accounts, are applied from the “Parental Control” section of a user’s account settings and can be tailored to specific profiles. Here’s what you can do with them.
Rating restrictions by profile
This feature allows the main Netflix account holder to restrict the rating of all shows that appear on a profile’s account. It appears to only work top down, so you can restrict shows that are above a certain rating but now below; you can make sure everything rated R and above disappears but can’t make TV-Y and other children’s shows go away.
This way, if a parent has Netflix with a designated Netflix Kids profile, the new controls allow the parent to further restrict content based on rating. The standard rating restriction for Kids is PG and TV-PG, but the new controls allow parents to set that rating lower.
Or if you’re bored, you can mess around with the ratings for anyone who has a profile on your Netflix account and see what happens when your sister who lives across the country finds out she can’t watch anything more savage than My Little Pony.
Title removal is a big change for parental controls on Netflix. It allows the main account holder to specifically designate shows and movies that they don’t want to show up on the Netflix main page ever, regardless of rating. These title removals are tied to each profile, so wiping out a show from Netflix Kids won’t make it vanish from the account’s other profiles.
This feature is useful for parents who have beef with a specific show, like The Boss Baby: Back in Business (should babies even be capitalists?), and don’t want their kids watching it. It is also useful if you have beef with someone who you know is still using your account years after you broke up and would be devastated if, for some magical reason, Stranger Things up and disappeared forever.
PIN protecting profiles
This feature hearkens back to the old days of password protected parental locks on TV. Only the main account holder can set a PIN (you need to input your Netflix password to set it), and that user can use the PIN to lock their profile to stop others from accessing it without knowing the four-digit number.
Any profile on the account can have a PIN, which allows parents to moderate screen time by keeping even the Kids profile locked behind those four digits. It’s also useful for parents who don’t want their kids to simply click the adult account to access previously restricted content.
Or if your roommate, who is lazy, refuses to use their own profile and insists on watching shows that mess up your carefully curated algorithm…it’s pretty good for that too.
PIN protecting ratings
The PIN also works with the aforementioned rating restrictions. You can set a requirement for PIN input based on a show’s rating, so anything above PG-13 or what have you requires PIN entry.
If parents set the PIN rating restriction to PG-13 for a certain profile, then kids won’t be able to watch more mature shows without their parents’ permission. If you don’t have kids and set a PIN rating restriction, you have forged a new weapon against anyone who wants to watch fun stuff in your profile without your knowledge.
It’s also the less nuclear way to make Stranger Things disappear for those who don’t have your PIN, and is especially useful in the aforementioned roommate situation if you don’t want to lock your entire profile.
Disable autoplay episodes
Everyone has fallen into the Netflix trap of intending to watch one more episode and being lulled into submission by the “Next Episode” countdown when the credits roll. Disabling autoplay for your profile and others puts a stop to this.
It’s great for parents who want to keep an eye on their kids’ screen time.
Not much fun for anyone else though.
Michelle Parsons, the product manager for Netflix Kids, told The Verge that Netflix “hope[s] that these additional controls will help parents make the right choices for their families.”
Since the controls are applicable to more than Kids’ accounts, it’s up to every Netflix account holder to make the right choices for themselves and the veritable constellation of people who have access to their accounts.